Almost 90% of people living with Parkinson's feel 'harassed or discriminated against'

Henrietta Strickland
April 13, 2019

A Moira pensioner who has suffered with Parkinson's for five years says the main issue of the illness for him is the fact it's not visible.

With the world continuing to age, the number of Parkinson's patients increases every year. You can find yourself hurried in shops or, particularly relevantly to me, when going through airport security.

The survey, described by Parkinson's United Kingdom as the largest of its kind ever undertaken, also found that over a quarter (26%) had been told they were "too young" to have Parkinson's, while more than half said people simply didn't believe they had the condition. "Conversation can be hard because people move on before you've got your words out".

Over a quarter (27%) said they felt they had been judged for using a disabled parking space or toilet.

The new figures suggest a common lack of awareness about the symptoms, despite it being one of the most common degenerative neurological conditions.

Everyone in Northern Ireland has a role to play in developing understanding and positive public attitudes towards people affected by Parkinson's and I urge everyone to visit our website to engage with our campaign Parkinson's Is. The public doesn't think that Parkinson's is a serious condition. There is a lot of research and many studies aiming to cure Parkinson's.

Parkinson's United Kingdom has launched a new campaign in a bid to address misconceptions about the condition and reduce the negative experiences of people with the condition.

Meanwhile, a quarter of respondents (24%) said their slow movement and speech had been misinterpreted as an intellectual disability and 10% said they had been laughed at.

An estimated 145,000 people were diagnosed with the condition in the United Kingdom in 2018.

Steve Ford, chief executive of the charity, said: "It's heartbreaking that so many are cancelling or avoiding social situations due to embarrassment about their Parkinson's symptoms, or fears about how people will react to them".

Parkinson's United Kingdom say there are approximately two new diagnoses every hour.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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